Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Spousal Bereavement: in difficult times love makes a difference

A thousand thank you’s is still not nearly enough

How can a wife show love and gratitude for the respect, appreciation and friendship her husband has received in his life and which has been conveyed even after his death, through good wishes, prayers, cards, emails and messages?

How can I crystallise what your kindness has done for me and for my family?

A writer uses words, but I’m bereft of words.

I have discovered somethings new about my husband in his passing: he held deep friendship with some he knew only in passing, and received tremendous respect from colleagues years beyond their working together. He was a good man and I was not the only one who knew it!

Yes, Alan was a fine and godly man. But he was also a friend to so very many people I may never have the pleasure to meet. 

So I say this to those who valued Alan the way that I valued Alan: Thank you for sharing your love of him with me in this time of his departure. It will stay with me to share with his children and his children’s children.

Thank you. And you will always have a friend in me:) 

Much, much love to all.

Sarah

sarahtun@laruspress.com

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Heart Attack: the first phase of Covid pt 1

The Life is in the Blood aka When the Music Fades (manuscript beginnings about the hospitalisation of Alan Tun)

One morning recently, I awoke to the memory of learning of Alan’s heart attack. Never was I so relieved to hear such bad news.

At the time, my son Jordan and I were joyful at the news of Alan having incurred and overcome a heart attack, because to us, it meant that the doctors had finally found the source of the continual fatigue and lack of healing in Alan since he had been admitted, even and though he’d been getting great care and all the oxygen he needed. Cardiologists dealt with the heart attack by putting two stents in the artery that had been blocked and Alan — conditional on respiration recovery — would soon be home.

So we thought. We all thought: family, doctors, Alan.

It was instead, the beginning of a decline that would be relentless leading to induced coma.

So, the saga of Alans illness and ultimate journey into his glorious destiny with Jesus continues from last week’s introduction, for those who are interested.

I am not one to dwell on the past. One of my favourite scriptures is from Philippians 3, “Forgetting what is behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on…” Paul says. And I am like that in my general attitude to life.

The idea of rehashing what happened to Alan is not what’s on my heart. There is no blame to attach because everyone, from prayerful friends to family and relatives, to doctors and nurses on the wards, worked painfully hard to bring Alan to health, and yet he died. GOD is sovereign, and so couldn’t He have saved Alan? These are not the points spurring on my writing about his time in hospital. So why do it then? It isn’t for catharsis. I suppose I document this because I think it is an interesting story, quite intense and full of scripture and prayer and spiritual warfare, and honouring to a man who fought beyond physical strength to stay in this world for the sake of his family and friends and all those whom he taught… even though he had no fear of death whatsoever and knew he would go to a safer, happier, holier place when ever he did finish here on earth.

The story begins

Alan had been ill since the 19th of December. He’d had a nasty ongoing headache, aches, and enough nausea to mean he had virtually no appetite. I gave him hot echenacia and lemon, vitamins: especially C, D and Zinc (though he refused to take them all daily). He had no fever, no continuous cough, no shortness of breath, no change in taste or smell (except one bad tasting banana, which should have put us on high alert). I’d had the same headache and pains which turned into a cold, and fully recovered after 4 days. Jordan had had a headache a few days before me. We all thought we had the flu of a sort and were taking it in turn.

But one evening, on day 11, I awoke in the night and Alan was on the floor. He told me it was the second time he’d collapsed in the night, even though he said he didn’t feel short of breath or dizzy. Why didn’t I call the emergency straight away?

I phoned the doctor the next day but couldn’t get our own so I left it one more day. On day 13 we spoke with our doctor who was patient and rather emphatic, saying that “of course you have Covid” and she arranged for a clinic appointment.

It was very cold on 31st of December. We drove to the clinic and parked and walked through the cold outdoors to the clinic. I left him with the nurse, not being permitted inside given the Covid restrictions. I’d come back in 30 minutes to collect Alan.

29 minutes later as I was making my way back to the entrance where we’d parted, my mobile rang. It was a pleasant doctor on the line who said Alan had pneumonia. It was probably Covid as well he said, and Alan would be taken to the hospital by ambulance. The doctor answered all my questions. The main issue had been that although Alan was clearly low on Oxygen, settling at about 88% when anything below 92% is a concern, he was — it seems — one of 10% of people who experience silent hypoxia. The fact that their oxygen level is low just doesn’t register warning symptoms. So apart from him landing on the floor a couple of nights, he’d not had any symptoms of chest pain, difficult breathing or climbing of stairs, which are the typical signposts of low oxygen levels triggered by Covid.

My heart sank.

As I drove home alone I thought, “What am I going to say to Jordan?” our 16 year old son. And I gathered myself up and knew I must be resolutely positive, calm and assured, for there was no point in worrying myself, let alone causing someone else to worry. It was enough of a “message” that Alan would not be home right away because he’d been too ill with pneumonia and had instead been taken to hospital.

About 15 minutes after I arrived home, Alan rang. He sounded rough medically and somewhat dismayed. 

This is not how we thought this day would progress.

Now would begin 18 days of intermittent communication, ups and many medical downs, and an empty canister of oxygen, all which ultimately would lead to his being put into ICU.

More next time for those for whom this is of interest.

Categories
Hebraic Roots: Israel and Jewish Culture

The Jewish people: the elder brother

Story of the Prodigal Son: 

Older brother is Israel, including all the Jews today.

Younger brother are the Gentiles who follow Yeshua.

From Luke 15

11 Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. 13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with [d]prodigal living. 14 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. 15 Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the [e]pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.

17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.” ’

20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, [f]‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.

25 “Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’

28 “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’

31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’ ”

As I engage with the song below

I realise the weeping for Joy that the LORD has as this Jewess sings of her love; “the LORD GOD Almighty reigns”. For her, that LORD encompasses the Messiah and Ruach as well as the Father.

As we meditate on this truth, let us pray for more of His elder sons and daughters to come to him in the name of Yeshua. Hallelujah! 

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Service to Honour the Life of Alan Tun

Funeral to be held at 1pm UK time, Monday 29th March: Livestream open link(scroll down on this Homepage): https://tmc-church.org.uk/

to be saved and accessible thereafter: https://tmc-church.org.uk/preacher/tun-alan/

All song selections are chosen from Alan’s personal collection 

Song 

Pie Jesu by Aled Jones 

Pie Jesu, pie Jesu, pie Jesu, pie Jesu
Qui tollis piccata mundi
Dona eis requiem, dona eis requiem
Pie Jesu, pie Jesu, pie Jesu, pie Jesu
Qui tollis piccata mundi
Dona eis requiem, dona eis requiem Agnus Dei, Agnus Dei, Agnus Dei, Agnus Dei Qui tollis piccata mundi
Dona eis requiem, dona eis requiem Sempiternam, sempiternam Sempiternam requiem 

Welcome and Prayer 

by Pastor Deon Esterhuizen 

Reading 

Psalm 23: 1 – 6 by Izzie Jay 

The Lord Is My Shepherd 

I shall not want. 

He makes me to lie down in green pastures; 

He leads me beside the still waters. 

He restores my soul; 

He leads me in the paths of righteousness 

For His name’s sake. 

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, 

I will fear no evil; 

For You are with me; 

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; 

You anoint my head with oil; 

My cup runs over. 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me 

All the days of my life; 

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Family Eulogy 

by Victor Tun 

Song 

How Great Thou Art by Elvis Presley 

Oh Lord my God when I in awesome wonder Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout the universe displayed. When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation And take me home – What joy shall fill my heart Then I shall bow in humble adoration
And there proclaim my God how great Thou art Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee How great Thou art, how great Thou art Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee How great Thou art, how great Thou art. 

Reading 

Scripture Collage
by Jim Goodwin

Verses suggested by colleagues and friends 

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” 

Psalm 91: 1 – 2 

“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honour him.” 

Psalm 91: 14 – 15 

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 

James 3: 13 

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. 

James 3: 17 – 18 

“The thief does not come except to kill, and to steal, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and may have it more abundantly.” 

John 10: 10 

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth,
but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it….. 

Joshua 1: 8

“To whom then will you liken Me,
Or to whom shall I be equal?” says the Holy One. 

“Lift up your eyes on high,
And see who has created these things,
Who brings out their host by number;
He calls them all by name,
By the greatness of His might
And the strength of His power;
Not one is missing.” 

Isaiah 40: 25 – 26 

“Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, And His redeemer, the Lord of hosts: I am the first and I am the last; Besides me there is no other God….” 

Isaiah 44: 6 

Indeed He says, “It is too small a thing that
You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob, And to restore the preserved ones of Israel;
I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles,
That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.” 

Isaiah 49: 6 

Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, And the Lord listened and heard them;
So a book of remembrance was written before Him For those who fear the Lord
And who meditate on His name. 

“They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them
As a man spares his own son who serves him.” 

Malachi 3: 16 – 17 

For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’ 

Isaiah 41: 13 

Precious in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His saints. 

Psalm 116: 15 

His Lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ 

Matthew 25: 23 

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. 

2 Tim 4: 7 – 8 

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever
things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. 

Philippians 4: 8 – 9 

Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! 

Matthew 13: 43 

Ministry Eulogy 

by Tim Vince 

Song 

Thy Word by Amy Grant 

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet And a light unto my path. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet And a light unto my path. 

When I feel afraid,
And think I’ve lost my way. Still, You’re there right beside me. Nothing will I fear
As long as You are near; Please be near me to the end. 

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet And a light unto my path. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet And a light unto my path. 

I will not forget
Your love for me and yet, My heart forever is wandering. Jesus be my guide,
And hold me to Your side, And I will love you to the end. 

Nothing will I fear
As long as You are near; Please be near me to the end. 

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet And a light unto my path. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet And a light unto my path. And a light unto my path. You’re the light unto my path. 

Reading 

Romans 8: 1 – 39 by Sarah Tun 

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made
me free from the law of sin and death.
For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh,
on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh,
That the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death,
but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God;
for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.
So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin,
but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
Therefore, brethren, we are debtors – not to the flesh,
to live according to the flesh.
For if you live according to the flesh you will die;
but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”
The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that
we are children of God,
And if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 

For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly
waits for the revealing of the sons of God.
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly,
but because of Him who subjected it in hope;
because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage
of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
For we know that the whole creation groans and
labours with birth pangs together until now.
Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even
we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.
For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope;
for why does one still hope for what he sees?
But if we hope for what we do not see,
we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the
Spirit is, because He makes intercession
for the saints according to the will of God.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things?
If God is for us, who can be against us?
He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died,
and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation,
or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: 

“For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” 

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come. 

Nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

Time of Prayer 

by Pastor Deon Esterhuizen 

Song 

From A Distance by Cliff Richard 

From a distance, the world looks blue and green And the snow capped mountains so white From a distance the ocean meets the stream And the eagle takes to flight. 

From a distance, there is harmony
And it echoes through the land
It’s the voice of hope, it’s the voice of peace It’s the voice of everyone. 

From a distance, we all have enough And no one is in need
There are no guns, no bombs and no disease No hungry mouths to feed. 

For a moment we are instruments Marching in a common band
Playing songs of hope, playing songs of peace They’re the songs of everyone. 

God is watching us God is watching us
God is watching us, from a distance. 

From a distance, you look like my friend Even though we are at war
From a distance, I can’t comprehend What all this war is for. 

What we need is love and harmony Let it echo through the land
It’s the hope of hopes, it’s the love of loves It’s the heart of everyone
It’s the hope of hopes, it’s the love of loves It’s the song of everyone. 

Sing out songs of Hope Sing out songs of Freedom Sing out songs of Love Sing out songs of Peace Sing out songs of Justice Sing out songs of Harmony Sing out songs of Love Sing out Everyone… 

Socially distanced light refreshments will be served in the church hall after the service.

Afterword:

Alan Tun: Total freedom in Christ by Sarah Tun 

Our lovely Alan has gone 

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” (Galatians 5:1) 

With Alan’s inverted thinking, taking the Gospel for exactly what it says and with no assumptions, leads us to the logical conclusion that death is not to be mourned, not for the person who has died. He has moved to an address which offers so much more. 

Why did this happen? 

Since we know that GOD is good and rewards those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6), and since I’ve already established in my mind, as well as in my experience with Alan in his last hours, that Alan was ready to go to be with him, then on what basis did the LORD think of me? Did He abandon me or my son? Not at all. 

My logical conclusion to what has occurred is that he trusts me to be able to handle this life without my husband. He trusts our son to grow up in the knowledge of the LORD even without his father. We trust in the LORD with all our hearts (Proverbs 3:5) and so when we look to that scripture, to actually implement it, we can choose to trust it. 

Alan’s perspective 

Alan always looked at scripture afresh. He looked deeply,
rather than at an obvious understanding. We need the obvious when we are young, but as we age in faith (Alan came to the LORD as a teen),
we see through the glass more clearly. 

“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12) 

Now that Alan has left us, he sees it all. His perspective will not be limited to his logical, truthful, consistent approach to scripture,
but will be limitless, inspired and full of all truth. 

All glory to GOD! 

Complete article at https://www.laruspress.com 

Categories
Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

The Life is in the Blood: beginnings of a manuscript

How a perfectly healthy man died of Covid

On 10th March 2021, Alan Tun went to be with the LORD. This is not a euphemism for he died. Isaiah 44:6 says he is not dead but is alive.

Alan was my lovely husband. This is the story of how he battled, how we battled for him, and how we lost but he won! Death has no victory for the one who trusts in Jesus, but oh, there is a sting for those who remain behind.

For those who do not know Alan Tun, he was a Bible teacher, as called in Ephesians 4. He was a modest yet confident man, never promoting himself but always willing to teach anyone who would listen, how to look inside of scripture for the kernels of life that bring us to a deeper understanding of the truths in Biblical scripture. We had excellent discussions together, and the LORD made us totally compatible theologically. No matter how annoyed we might get with one another, no matter how we might misunderstand one another on a human level as married couples often do, we always saw theological things from the same perspective. God gave us that gift. And so I think I can tell this story from our perspective, even though Alan and I had relatively few words from the time he first took sick.

On 19th December, Alan began to feel unwell, with a headache, general weakness and loss of appetite. This is the place where the story begins…. of how a perfectly healthy man died, not directly of Covid-19, but from other issues which arose as a result, even to include the valiant medical attempts to save his life.

This is a spiritual look at why Alan’s home address has changed, and how those of us who remain on earth have a choice as to how we recognise God in the story, or don’t. Those who knew Alan will know that to him, choice is man’s most important freedom. As a barrister and Bible teacher, he simply would present the facts and allow others to decide: do we want to believe the Bible and live by it, do we want to be s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d? Or do we want to live within our own limited but safe mental framework, religious teaching, or anti-God perspective? The choice is ours and the consequences are ours. 

Now Alan has no limitations. That is exciting. And that is how I choose to accept his death — and his new life — apart and yet together with me.

(It is quite possible this book may be presented partially in serial form on a weekly basis… but I shall take one week at a time)

Categories
Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

Mourning: the Key is Perspective

When we keep our eyes on Jesus

One of the deep lessons I learned in the weeks praying vehemently for Alan’s recovery was to keep my eyes on Jesus, and to ignore the storm that was raging.

Now as Alan has passed away, I am learning the importance of applying the same lessons as I work through the process of grieving.

Romans 12:2 says, “Be thou transformed by the renewing of your mind…”

How we think and perceive is at the very core of how we live, minister and overcome.

I had two really lousy days this week, then I remembered to focus my eyes, my attention on Jesus. In so doing, my soul is revived.

I cannot articulate all that is going on with me, as the wife of a lovely man who went “too soon” — from our perspective. 

Gazing into the world

From my window earlier this week, I watched as an elderly man mowed the lawn of his even older relative. I thought, There he is, and Alan was only 62. I do not begrudge the longer life of another man. But it was hard at that moment not to wonder why Alan had to go so soon.

And yet, I come full circle, realising that Alan was ready. The LORD was ready. I was not ready but I must catch up.

I feel much of my married life, in so many ways, was catching up to Alan. 


Focus

When we mourn, we keep our eyes on the Master. He will not leave, he will not forsake, and in time, he will even answer many of our questions. Some answers we will not receive until we meet him face to face. But in the meantime, we can watch, listen, read the Word, and actively wait for the answers to some of our questions. I find music really helpful; it lifts and carries me through.

And always we can hope that what seems dim now will become much clearer, in time. “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)

God bless

Alan’s funeral will be held at 1pm on Monday 29th March. For those who want to view it as is it livestreamed: https://tmc-church.org.uk/ No password or permission required to view.

For those who want to view it later: https://tmc-church.org.uk/preacher/tun-alan/

I will post a link to the Order of Service on my Facebook page and also on this website.

Categories
Preparing the Bride of Jesus Christ

Alan Tun: total freedom in Christ

My darling husband is totally free.

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” (Galatians 5:1)

These words of Paul refer to the Jewish law of circumcision, but also relate to this life on earth. We are aware of the trappings of this life, although we are aware we are meant to live an abundant life.

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

The earth is in war. There is evil and sorrow, there is goodness and joy; yes, there is much joy in life. There is beauty in earth, sea, sky, relationships and so much more. And yet… heaven has even more.

With Alan’s inverted thinking, then taking the Gospel for exactly what it says and with no assumptions, leads us to the logical conclusion that death is not to be mourned, not for the person who has died. He has moved to an address which offers so much more.

I am not a robot. I am not dead. So I mourn. I have a 16 year old son who will now grow like is father but without him. It is tragic, but only remains a tragedy if we refuse to look beyond our limited vision.

Why did this happen?

Since we know that GOD is good and rewards those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6), and since I’ve already established in my mind, as well as in my experience with Alan in his last hours, that Alan was ready to go to be with him, then on what basis did the LORD think of me? Did He abandon me or my son? Not at all.

My logical conclusion to what has occurred is that he trusts me to be able to handle this life without my husband. He trusts our son to grow up in the knowledge of the LORD even without his father. We trust in the LORD with all our hearts (Proverbs 3:5) and so when we look to that scripture, to actually implement it, we can choose to trust it.

Alan’s perspective

Alan always looked at scripture afresh. He looked deeply, rather than at an obvious understanding. We need the obvious when we are young, but as we age in faith (Alan came to the LORD as a teen), we see through the glass more clearly.

“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)

Now that Alan has left us, he sees it all. His perspective will not be limited to his logical, truthful, consistent approach to scripture, but will be limitless, inspired and full of all truth.

All glory to GOD!

Be transformed

What would most honour Alan’s life other than a look at the Word of GOD?

Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Are we going to allow ourselves the freedom to walk in this truth?

The logic of prayer is that if you pray and receive, then you walk in the change. As hundreds of people prayed for Alan’s recovery, though he died, now they are praying for his family who are alive. And so I have the peace and sometimes even a bit of joy, as I work through the natural changes that come with my husband’s passing.

The world is a complex place, full of both joy and sorrow. We mourn the dead for ourselves much more than for what they lose in departing. Although there is much in life, when a life is moved to heaven to the man who loves His LORD, why mourn? He no longer suffers frustration, injustice, heartache, or imperfection.

My understanding of Alan

Alan had transformed to be near to the person GOD created him to be as possible. So it was time for his mission in Heaven.

To my mind, Alan has passed away because:

He was refined to the image GOD had of him

He was ready to go

He had more to learn that was only available in Heaven

And so…

I miss my dear Alan, but I am confident that the tasks each of us has are to be carried out in different places. I wish it were not so, and yet, Thy will be done, LORD. 

“The Joy of the LORD is our strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)

When we meet tragedy, we must allow ourselves to live in it, but also allow ourselves to overcome it. We who know Jesus are different from the world, and so we must walk differently.

Alan is well worth listening to. If you’d like to do so,

For Alan’s bible study audios and visuals you can go to: 

https://tmc-church.org.uk/preacher/tun-alan/

For Bible studies with other presenters, go to: https://www.revelationtv.com and look up the huge supply of Bible Studies.

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Wives spoil your husbands: a reflection

I awoke about 4am this morning (Friday 12th March 2021) and as I lay in bed, feeling a little bit chilly, I just drifted in my thoughts.

Then, I sensed some movement. And I sat up. I believe Georg was in the room….

In the course of Alan’s hospitalisation, there was much spiritual warfare, as those of faith can well imagine. During that time, I believe the LORD introduced more to me about angels than I had ever contemplated before. But that is another topic, for another time. Suffice to say, I believe Georg was the name of Alan’s designated angel. Alan and I had not ever really discussed angels. In our many years discussing the Word of God that wasn’t a topic particularly on the list. But I believe some time during January/February, I became aware of an angel named Georg who was Alan’s angel. 

Georg was, I believe, in the room early this morning. 

“Georg” I called out softly. He stopped, poised somewhere between our wardrobes opposite the end of our bed, and the door from the room. 


He didn’t speak. But I knew he was listening. 


I considered for a while. I was wondering what he was doing there, but sensed he had something with him, something of Alan’s that he was taking with him, and that this was the last time he would be in here, in the house, and that I’d never experience his presence again. He was leaving because there was no reason any longer for him to be present.

He — or GOD — had allowed me to wake up, so that I’d know he was there.

“If you are allowed to speak to Alan, would you tell him from me… I loved him. I admired him so much. I only fully realised what an amazing man he was after he’d gone to the hospital. I’m sorry. I should have spoiled him more.”

You see, Alan and I had a really solid marriage. We were quite different in our personalities and cultures. In fact, it was only in the last six months I’d begun to identify the part of him who was a Burmese man: passive, solid but not particularly assertive, and certainly not aggressive in any way. Alan was one hundred percent confident, but had no need or propensity to put himself forward. That’s the part of him I identify as “Burmese”. I shared that with him some time before Christmas. I’m glad.

This aspect of him I never really understood until 2020. I don’t know how I began to recognise it, but I do know why: because I’d always found his “leading from the back foot” frustrating and didn’t understand why he didn’t assert himself more. Oh, I’m sure he did in his own way in his world of work. Certainly he was a successful manager of people in the City of London. In discovering the link between his birth culture and his personality, I relaxed about our lives together much more. 

But in his absence when he’d gone to hospital, I learned so much more about our marriage: his identity and mine, and ours together. And so now, I regret I didn’t spoil him. By that I mean, I didn’t acquiesce easily (being of North American culture where one has to stand for oneself), didn’t often relent when I disagreed until I “understood” where Alan was coming from, until recently. I admired his gift as a Bible teacher and we talked a great deal about the Word together. And our principles and desire to grow in the character of GOD was perfectly alined. But in the little hobbies he had, I never listened endlessly about hi fi or watches, about the workshop and DIY, and I teased him about his enjoyment of “rubbish” tv: mindless programmes which he occasionally enjoyed about people buying abandoned storage locker contents for resale or individuals trying to get a good price from a pawn shop on their attic junk (thankfully, I did sit and enjoy them with him from time to time).

I tried to cook the sort of food he liked and adored his approach to GOD’s Word. I admired his integrity and selfless determination to live a godly life. But I didn’t listen to him enough about the little things and I talked as much as I listened, or more. I didn’t encourage his somewhat eccentric preference for music. And I didn’t help him very well when he wanted help around the house; he just wanted me to sit while he did a task and pass tools to him. I was rubbish at that, usually wandering off to do something while I was awaiting the next request, then missing the next instruction, if I remembered to return to him at all. I wish now, that I had done so much better at “helping” him.

I wish I’d spoiled him so much more. I would have, I believe, had he returned home from hospital, because I’d come to understand the man much better. I’m grateful I had the opportunity more than once during the hospital ordeal to wrap it all up by saying, “Alan I respect you,” and “I have learned patience”.

So, if I have a pearl of wisdom to share about the passing of my dear husband Alan Tun, in its summation it would be: wives, spoil your husbands more than you do (unless you already do a great, great deal). Because they need it. It’s part of their make-up as men, whether they demonstrate it or not. 

“Blessing and honour, glory and power, be unto the Ancient of Days.” And LORD, please let Alan know, if there is a way for him to know, that I wish I’d honoured him better by spoiling him more, and yes, now, I think I love him almost perfectly. 

Categories
Reflections and Poetry

Letting Go

“Walk on water,” he told me on the 5th of January. He was having an angiogram.

All went well.

Last night when I saw him, I asked him, “Do you remember telling me to walk on water?” 

He said, “Yes.”

“Now,” I said, “it’s your turn.”

I know we walked on water together. For a time. But then his spirit ascended and mine remains.

My darling husband, I know you rest in peace.

Alan Tun

17.05.1958 – 10.03.2021

A fine and godly man.

Categories
Examining Biblical Scripture

Stress Coping Mechanisms

How many times do people say in a crisis, “Well, at least we have our health!”?

When our health is vulnerable, there is a great deal of stress. So, what Stress Coping Mechanisms can we use to overcome?

Walk on Water

We do not have the power to control our environment. Often we don’t have control over our circumstances. Storms in life will come and go, be they health storms or other situations. But when we focus on Jesus and allow ourselves to walk on water — as he did in all things — we get through the stress. Keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus — and sometimes that takes sheer determination — the author and finisher of our faith gets us through the storm.

Scripture

“…for the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10b) is just one of hundreds of scriptures that we can choose to digest when our stress level is high. Resting in the Word of GOD, either reading the Bible, listening to Scripture-based music, or listening to a recording of the Word, will feed the soul.

“The word of GOD is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

The word strengthens us, convicts us, sharpens us, prepares us. Dwelling in the word allows us to draw near to the Lord. Remember, Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1)

I urge myself and all: take time in the word — more time. 

Unity in Prayer

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)

The Body of Christ Jesus/Yeshua Messiah needs one another. When we are experiencing high degrees of stress, it may be tempting to complain or to hide — opposite reactions but quite typical responses to challenging times. To complain builds no one up and changes nothing; it is our flesh rising up. 

We need a new perspective; let’s take the mountain view. When we truly believe GOD is sovereign and loves us, we have nothing to complain about. It doesn’t mean things will always be rosy, but it does mean we recognise good things grow out of adversity and GOD doesn’t make mistakes. 

Sometimes we need others to support our prayers — to keep our arms lifted up like Moses had his arms upheld during battle. (Exodus 17:11) The Lord Jesus asked his friends to pray with him in Gethsemane. Prayer is something we all need and sometimes we need others to pray for us, when we cannot find the focus, peace, or words to pray. And of course the Holy Spirit gives us utterance whether or not we are lost for words. (Acts 2:4)

Asking for prayer support is important. Equally important is to be firmly rooted in knowing you are reliant upon the LORD and not on people. Sometimes the Lord allows trying circumstances simply to stretch and to grow us; sometimes He allows it so we will be drawn to come together with others.

“But He knows the way that I take; and when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.” (Job 23:10)

More fruit

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, patience and self control. Against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

We can know we need prayer when we are losing a hold on our love or joy or peace or…. When tempers flair, or try to, it us usually the flesh and not the spirit rising up. Yes, there is righteous anger, but more often than not, our anger is emotional turmoil welling up inside of us and exploding outward. When fear rises up, swapping it for the fear of the LORD is not only wisdom, but restorative too.

The Lord always offers good gifts to His children (Matthew 7:11), and these gifts include the fruits of the spirit. When we are in a stressful situation, or a situation that is stressful for us, we ask, seek, knock, find: the Lord is waiting to encourage and to help us.

Knowing the end from the beginning

“I am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” (Revelations 22:13)

In the end, Jesus wins! He has already won. We need to live in that truth as our reality all the time. When we do, the stress has nowhere to occupy.

As we dwell on the word and allow our minds to be renewed daily, we are restored. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

Overcoming the flesh

Doubt, control, fear: these are all activities which like to live in the mind. But Jesus has overcome the flesh, the world and the devil. Faith in him means we do not have to doubt, control or fear anything or anyone. 

The flesh is in our will. The flesh is in our thoughts. The flesh is in our emotions. We shall not yield to the flesh any longer. Instead, we say as Jeremiah said, “Ah, LORD GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for you.” (Jeremiah 31:17) Help us to surrender any remaining flesh to you.

We say, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God, for the pulling down of strongholds.” (2 Corinthians 10:4) Lord, deliver us by Your mighty hand.

And we declare, “When he ascended on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men” that “to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift” and so we say thank you Lord, for our portion, our sufficient portion to overcome.

We stand on the promises of God. “To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” (Revelation 2:7) 

And we trust Him: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Meditate on these things, trust the Lord, and the stress will wash away.

Amen